Top 5 cities to go for its food during long weekends in 2016 (Singapore travellers)

Have you heard the good news? Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has announced 2016’s public holidays.

The news outlets reported that there will be six long weekends in 2016. But if your workplaces gives you off-in-lieu for Saturday public holidays (not all companies do), you actually have eight long weekends (nine if you take leave on 8 August, Monday).

2016 long weekend singapore yqtravelling

I really love weekend travels. Even though this means that my trip is short, I don’t want to use my work leave. I’m a hoarder even when it comes to annual leave.

If you are planning to go for more weekend travels in 2016, I recommend these locations to go for their yummy yummy food.

Ipoh, Malaysia

I would visit Ipoh again and again for its food. It might not be as famous as Penang for its local food but that little town serves really good chicken.

Ipoh Beansprout chicken
Beansprout chicken feast in Ipoh.

How to reach Ipoh from Singapore: 

Long-distance bus (7 to 8 hours)
Several bus companies run Singapore – Ipoh routes.

Train (6 + 2 hours + waiting time)
You can take the night train from Singapore/Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur. From KL, there is high-speed train to Ipoh, but the price isn’t budget friendly.

Airplane (1 hour 35 minutes)
Firefly and Tigerair has flights between Singapore and Ipoh. Remember to research on the timing.

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Pronounced as “Jogjakarta”, the town on the Java Island is home to gorgeous historical sites such as Borobudur and Prambanan. But the food is fantastic too.

Nasi gudeg Jogja
Nasi gudeg

I was deceived by nasi gudeg the first time I ate it. I thought the dish had a surprisingly generous serving of beef boiled so soft that I don’t have to chew it like a cow. Later found out that the “beef” is actually young jackfruit. I was disappointed but it’s still a very tasty dish.

mie nusantara siomay
Mie and siomay

I also had the best mie while in Yogyakarta. It was in a noodle shop inside the main shopping mall. The noodles were springy and seasoned lightly with soy sauce.

How to reach Yogyakarta from Singapore: 

Airplane (2 hours 15 minutes)
AirAsia flies to Yogyakarta at a rather good timing. But the flight back leaves in the morning which is annoying.

If you find the flight timing for Yogyakarta terrible, your second best choice is Jakarta since it is the capital. There you can drink all the avocado juice you like.

Bangkok, Thailand

I went to Bangkok for my birthday in April, spending a three-day weekend there. I ate normal stuff like pad thai, I didn’t eat enough food. I still haven’t tried Mango Sticky Rice.

Pad Thai
Pad Thai

How to reach Bangkok from Singapore: 

Airplane (2 hours 25 minutes)
Loads of budget airlines fly from Singapore to Bangkok. Pick those with good departure and return timings so you can maximize your trip.

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

When I was in university staying in the dorm, my Vietnamese neighbors would cook with fish sauce. The potent smell wasn’t to my taste so I avoided Vietnamese food.

Then I went to Vietnam and I discovered that fish sauce is kind of like durian–stinky when you smell it but delicious when you taste it. I also discovered many other deliciousness that doesn’t involve fish sauce.

Vietnamese Pho

Vietnamese Pho

Declious banh mi in Saigon
Declious banh mi (Vietnamese baguette)  in Saigon
Extremely addictive Vietnamese Coffee.
Extremely addictive Vietnamese Coffee.

How to reach Ho Chi Minh from Singapore: 

Airplane: (2 hours 5 minutes)
Loads of budget airlines fly from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh. As usual, pick those with good departure and return timings so you can maximize your trip.

Shanghai, China

I would travel to Shanghai for just a weekend so I can eat the food. In fact, I’m doing it at the end of May.

My tongue still longs for the taste of shengjianbao: dumplings fried on one side ’til crispy. Take a bit and the soup flows out so you have to slurp it up fast. After two slurps, you can eat the meat along with the crunchy part.

The most delicious tiny buns/dumplings: shengjianbao
The most delicious tiny buns/dumplings: shengjianbao
小笼包 (xiao long bao)
Can you look at these delicate 小笼包 (xiao long bao) and not feel like licking your screen?

The home-cooked style restaurants in Shanghai are fantastic too. The soups come in porcelain basins and the servings are gigantic. I loved Grandma’s Place (a chain restaurant) when I was in Shanghai.

A feast at Grandma's Place.
A feast at Grandma’s Place.

How to reach Shanghai from Singapore: 

Airplane (5 hours 25 minutes direct)
Choosing a plane with a good timing is critical. I am taking Malaysian Airlines so I will reach Shanghai early at 7:30am on my first day and leave at 2pm-ish on my last day.

Another good alternative is Taiwan if you don’t want to fly that far to Shanghai.

Check out all the Weekend Travels posts:



10 things I love about central Java, Indonesia

Finally, my one week trip in the two cities of central Java–Yogyakarta and Solo–has come to an end. These seven days seem longer than they are and that’s always a good thing to feel when you’re having fun.

While my memory of Jogja and Solo is fresh, here are 10 things I’ll miss after leaving Indonesia. Items are ranked in priority and each deserve their own blog post.

1. Food

Feast at Mie Nusantara

Food in Indonesia is cheap and good. Most noodle dishes that we had didn’t cost more than S$2. Their noodles are good and the rice dishes are yummy. I even had siomay which we thought were siewmai posing as meatballs.

Surprisingly, we had Peranakan food for two (three?) times during our trip. We accidentally stumbled upon Kedai Tiga Nyonya while being lost. The avocado juice there made me think I went to heaven. Those were the more expensive meals that we had.

Continue reading “10 things I love about central Java, Indonesia”

#FriFoto: Seeking enlightenment @ Borobudur


(Post written while still in Indonesia. Internet courtesy of Excelso.)

Taken on Day 1 at Borobudur. By the time we reached, it was about 4.20pm and I only had 40 more minutes before the gates close.

Our hotel was on the temple grounds so it was just a stone’s throw away from the temple–if you throw really really hard that is.

There wasn’t many tourists on that afternoon. One reason being it was really late and another being the rain.

I had the chance to circle some of the levels of the temple. But in the opposite of the righ direction.

When I was on top of temple, the place didn’t seem really big. Until I started circling the lower levels then I felt its vastness. But it wasn’t until I was sitting at the restaurant of the hotel, looking at it from the proverbial stone’s throw that I really realized how big it is.

I think it’s a methaphor for life. While I’m in the fish tank, I don’t feel that the world is big. It’s only until I step away from it that I can appreciate how large the universe is. Or something like that.

My first in my series of #FriFoto. Stay tuned for more each Friday.

Selamat tinggal, I’ll be in Yogyakarta

Translation: Goodbye (to those who are staying) or “So long suckers!” Just kidding.
Malay trivia of the day: Selamat jalan is Goodbye too but you say it to those who are leaving.

By the time you have read this blog, I’d be in Yoygakarta (Jogja, for short). Finally breaking my 7-week trip-less spell. Phew!

I’ll be away for 8D7N. We’ve only booked one night of hotel for the whole trip. That’s the hotel right in the Borobodur complex which also allows us free entrance into the temple grounds.

The decision to visit Yoygakarta (someday) was made somewhere in my last semester. I remember asking an Indonesian from my “stress-less sessions” about the place and she admitted she has not been there.

I’m not even sure where I’ve first heard of Jogja but it must have been from D. Perhaps it was during my Bandung trip that I learned of the place.

At the time of typing (07:51am), there is about 4 hours to our flight. I haven’t packed yet. I have a visual representation of the things I need to bring, just in case. But I’m not terribly worried, since everything can be bought during the journey.

What does Jogja have to offer?

A friend of my mom’s was very curious why I decided to go to Jogja instead of the more popular destinations such as Siem Reap. I couldn’t really answer her then but in case you are wondering, here are some of the things I’ll be doing:

  1. Visiting ancient hindu temples at Borobudur and Prambanan. (Or as I tell my mom’s friend, “Something like Angkor Wat, but smaller.” correction: Jogja is advertised as the largest Buddhist temple on eartj. But, I still have no idea which is bigger.)
  2. Watch Ramayana ballet
  3. Eat lots of Indonesian food
  4. Drink lots of avocado juice with chocolate syrup
  5. Read an Indonesia/Malay book on round-the-world travelling (and review it)
  6. Try to be spiritually connected to the heavens during sunrise at Borobudur (and feel sleepy doing it)
  7. Meet some couchsurfers. (I’m quite terrified about this because my social skills with strangers isn’t terribly good.
  8. Make a travel video of the trip: Very excited about this

Besides Jogja, we’ll be going to Solo/Surakarta, hopefully by train. There are erotic temples around the area. ;) I’ll be there, of course.

I’ll be getting a local SIM when there. Hopefully the microSIM for iPhone 4’s are available. I’ll update on Twitter or even do short posts when there.

See you in 8 days! (I’ll still have two scheduled posts for next Tuesday and Saturday. Stay tuned!)

Have you been to Jogja? Any recommendations?